Saturday, September 10, 2016

Last of the Photos and the End of the Game - Black Powder AWI 09-10-2016

 OK folks, you might say "what happened to all the photos? Me, in my ten thumbs way, trying to add the story, somehow erased them and now I have to re-do it. SORRY!!!

Third week of July 1777   Somewhere in East Jersey

His Majesty's troops and the patriot forces in East Jersey were both on the move, and they made contact with each other simultaneously.  The field of battle was mostly open ground, and both sides deployed quickly.  The Crown forces anchored their right on a small farmstead with a walled garden, while the patriots had the right of their line anchored on a light wood.

The battle opened with an epic blunder, as patriot General Mad Anthony Docherty, commanding the left of the patriot line, completely ignored his orders for a cautious advance.  He charged most of his brigade straight into the British line, forcing a unit of light infantry and a British line battalion to retire.  Rebel jubilation, however, was short-lived.  That the British units retired at all must have been due to their sheer astonishment and disbelief at the rebel charge, as very few casualties were caused, and they quickly recovered their composure.  In fact, the two Continental units that led the charge were soon engulfed in a firestorm of musket balls as the entire left of the British line concentrated their fire on them.  The New York Continentals disappeared in a cloud of black powder, not to be seen again that day, and the shaken New Jersey Continentals wisely retired behind some conveniently located militia.

On the right of the patriot line General Big Joe Turney was doing his utmost to move in support of the blundering patriot left.  His Indian allies and light infantry moved quickly to harass the British flank from the protection of the light woods.  The militia were slower to advance, but they were able to cover the flank of the shaken Continentals and deliver some long range fire on the British line.

General Arthur Aubrey Mallard Turner, commanding the British right flank, watched this spectacle unfold, and saw an opportunity to end the battle quickly.  He ordered his infantry, cavalry, and guns to leave the shelter of the farmstead and advance on the patriot left flank.  At the same time General Sir Gilbert High-Garfar, the British CinC commanding the British left, was advancing into contact all along the patriot line and delivering the firestorm that destroyed the New York Continentals.

At this point, the battle was taking on a distinct resemblance to the ancient battle of Cannae, with the British commander playing the part of Hannibal and the hapless patriots playing the part of the Romans surrounded on three sides.

But the carnage was not over yet. 

The cavalry on the British right flank charged into the over-extended patriot left, supported by a British line unit.  The cavalry hit a militia unit in the flank but to everyone's amazement, not least the militia themselves, the militia held and turned to face the cavalry.   On the patriot right the militia, along with their battalion gun, delivered some heavy fire into the British line.  In retaliation the militia were promptly charged by a unit of Hessians.  In another shock to all who observed it, these militia also held and the Hessians were pushed back.  The shaken New Jersey Continental unit was rallied and with General Turney's adroit shuffling of units the Americans managed to create the semblance of a line from the wreckage of the blundering charge.

The charge of the British cavalry had exposed their own flank to the American light dragoons, but the chaos of the battlefield made it impossible for the American cavalry to charge their British counterparts.  Instead, they vented their fury on a unit of British light infantry, who thought so little of the American fury that they stood firm in the face of the cavalry charge.  Time seemed to stand still for a moment all along the line where the two armies met, as units became locked in melee and others exchanged musket fire.

The illusion only lasted for a moment though.  In the next instant the British cavalry broke the militia facing them and charged into the front of the rallied New Jersey Continentals.  The Continentals held and the British cavalry retired to safety behind their lines.  At the same time the American light dragoons finally forced the British light infantry to retire and charged into a unit of Tory militia behind them.  Colonel Crusty Upperbutt, in charge of the Tory militia, had seen enough of the battle to know that light dragoons would find it extremely difficult to break formed troops, or unformed troops for that matter.  He laughed at the pathetic attempts of the American light dragoons and stood his ground.

On the patriot right, the unequal contest between British regulars and rebel militia was soon decided in a hail of musket balls.  A unit of Indian allies decided they had done enough for the day, with a unit of riflemen following their lead.  The militia, the NJ Blues, and another unit of Indian allies were all shaken by the fury of the British fire. 

With both brigades of the rebels having taken heavy casualties while causing very little damage to the King's men, the bloody and beaten American army was relieved to retire from the field.  It was a decisive victory for British arms.



And the artillery rolls....a BLUNDER!!! And the result is....a "5" - Make one move to the units front. It could have been much worse!

Another shot of the Brtitish line moving into contact all down the line

And a Rebel unit is crushed under the might of British horsemanship!

Also, the line troops in the foreground have bested their opponents!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Black Powder AWI Game

And now, a Black Powder American War of Independence game I was in on August 10th at Aero Hobbies...

From The British View.....

July 1777,  in the vicinity of Morristown NJ

Having blunted the American thrust in central Jersey, General Howe turned his attention to the north west.  An isolated rebel garrison was tucked away there in the mountainous area around Morristown.  Howe advanced a strong force into the region, but before he could launch his attack the rebel garrison at Morristown struck. 

The field of battle was covered in dense terrain, with steep hills, thick woods, and a scattering of boggy ground making maneuver difficult.  The British prepared to execute another of their very effective flank attacks, as had been so successful on Long Island.  The cream of the  British army, including grenadiers and light infantry, was deployed on their far right, with a smaller force on the left with orders to pin the Americans there.   The rebels, apparently unaware of the enemy flanking force, and thinking that they had stolen a march on the British, concentrated their whole force on the British left flank.  Well, not exactly their whole force, as two American regiments never made it to the battlefield, one Continental regiment spending the day foraging while a militia regiment spent the day looting and plundering.  Despite the absent regiments the rebels still managed to achieve a local superiority of greater than two to one on the British left flank.  Numbers do not tell the whole story however.  The British forces quickly and efficiently deployed from march column into line to meet the rebel assault.  British quality, as well as abysmal rebel musketry, soon told and the first rebel assault on the British left ground to a halt. 

Meanwhile, the British flanking force made slow progress through the wooded hilly terrain.

Back on the British left, a regiment of Hessians charged a large rebel militia unit, forcing it to retire but, to everyone's amazement, not breaking it.  An American light infantry unit occupied a small village on the rebel left flank and kept up an annoying but fairly ineffective fire on the British.  The abysmal rebel musketry continued, and a rumor soon spread among the Americans that they had been resupplied with the poor quality powder meant for sale to the native American forces. 

Meanwhile, the British flanking force made slow progress through the wooded hilly terrain.

Back again on the British left, the rebels brought up their remaining forces, including a unit of State Troops, a small unit of riflemen, some native Americans, and their only cannon.  With these additional troops the Americans started to work their way around the left flank of the British forces.  Numbers finally began to tell, and the British left started to take some losses.  British professionalism never failed however, and several rebel forces were shaken by British firepower.

Meanwhile, the British flanking force made slow progress through the wooded hilly terrain.

And back again on the British left, the rebels suddenly became aware of the threat from the British flanking force.  A rebel light dragoon force that had been held in reserve moved to threaten the British as they emerged from the woods.  Some rebel skirmishers, already shaken from their contact with the enemy, also moved to block the British advance.  Neither force had much hope of stopping the British forces. 

Meanwhile, the British flanking force made slow progress through the wooded hilly terrain.

The rebel commander had been desperately rallying his shaken forces, and these efforts began to tell.  Rebel forces that had retired now rejoined the battle, and the British left began to collapse from the sheer number of rebels confronting them.

Meanwhile, the British flanking force slowly emerged from the wooded hilly terrain.

As the British flanking force came out of the woods, with the British light infantry leading the way, they were attacked by the rebel light infantry and light dragoons.  These attacks had little effect on the British, except to slow their advance even further.  The rebel light dragoons then saw an opportunity to charge some British lights on the far side of the village. The charge, perhaps unwisely, took the cavalry through the center of the village, and the horse were soon surrounded in the confines of the village and forced to surrender.  At the same time, the British flanking force was finally in position and launched a series of charges against the essentially unprotected left flank of the rebel force.  Unfortunately for the British a few rebel light troops blocked their way, standing firm only because they illegally counted friendly units as supports when they were not allowed to.  This mistake was discovered too late to fix and cost the British dearly.  In the end the flanking force fell short and was unable to land it's killing blow.  

By this time daylight was quickly fading and British losses on their left had been severe.  The British were reluctantly ordered to withdraw and left the rebels bloody and exhausted, in possession of the field and, perhaps unjustly, claiming victory..

From the Rebels View.....

June 1777,  North of Philadelphia

General Washington was beginning to regret his decision to fall back on Philadelphia after winning the battles of Trenton and Princeton last winter.  Instead of threatening British moves from the safety of Morristown in the Watchung mountains, he now had to counter British moves in the relatively open terrain of central New Jersey.  As it was, General Howe had gotten a late start this season because of the loss of supply transports to rebel privateers.  But now as summer was beginning to heat up Howe was on the move south from New York.  Washington knew he would have to face Howe if he was to prevent the entire state from falling under British control.  After a bit of maneuvering and feinting, the advance units of Washington's northward probe under Major-General Turney met the advance units of Howe's southward thrust under Lieutenant-General Alexander.

The forces clashed a short distance below Princeton at a place called Worth's Mill, where the terrain was open with only a few low hills and one patch of boggy ground to break up the battlefield.  General Turney had a numerical advantage over General Alexander, but the forces were otherwise well matched.  General Turney initiated the battle with orders for a general advance, though confusion was rampant on the Patriot side and the advance was ragged at best.  General Alexander had deployed the British in a well maintained double line, and they  stood their ground at first, letting the disorder in the Patriot lines do their work for them.  Despite the disarray in their ranks the Patriots did manage to straggle into range, especially on their right flank where General Turney made good use of the numerical superiority of his militia to inflict significant casualties on the opposing units, even causing a British regular unit to retire.

At a well-timed moment, however, General Alexander ordered an advance, and both British wings responded promptly.  On the British right, Major-General Stehle pushed back the Patriot skirmishers and nearly caught Brigadier-General Docherty's Continental line in road column. But the Continentals were able to reform into line, and they stood steadfast against the British charge.  On the British left, General Alexander got the better of the Patriots in an exchange of volleys, and nearly the entire Patriot army began to straggle off the field.  The Continentals that were still engaged in melee on the Patriot left flank made one last attempt to push back the British so they could withdraw with the rest of the Patriot army, and much to everyone's surprise Patriot desperation overcame British discipline.  The British unit and it's support fled from the field.  That was enough for the British and they made no attempt to pursue the retreating Patriots.

In the aftermath of the battle the Patriot army got much propaganda value out of having routed British regulars, and the British claimed victory as they had turned back the Patriot advance.  All of New Jersey holds it's breath in anticipation of the next moves that these armies will make.

 The British enter the board

 Rebel Forces on the flank

 The Artillery leads the way down the road

 The Rebels have to hold the village

 Deploying Rebel forces to face the British attack!

 Artillery moves to a better position as the rest of the British forces move into position

 "What's the range?"

"Give them the bayonet boys! Them rebels don't like British steel!"
Ground live view of the melee
 More British Line Troop pile on to support the front tank - Supports help in melee
 The close combat is...a DRAW!! The heart and the red gem show unsaved hits taken

 Rebel Cavalry hit the flank of 2 lines of British Troops - How is this going to go???

 The sound of sabres and muskets ring out...

And the Cavalry is forced back with 2 stamina hits
 "Let's see....we can fire at them, but at long range"
 British Troops melee Rebels who have cowardly hidden themselves in a house (the house model didn't allow troops inside)
 "At Last! Here come the French!!"
The Rebel Calvary has had enough and quits the field (taken too many hits and failed a Morale check)
 The British Troops have fallen back from the Rebels and it's Light Troops vs Light Troops at the edge of the woods

A shot of the Rebels, some British and troops who had fought at the flour mill 
 Indians & Rebel troops still holding the village
 A shot of the game from the Rebels side of the table

This is getting a bit large so I will post the last of the photos in the next blog!!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Second Assualt on Cair Andros -2nd Battle in The Lord of the Rings Mini-Campaign

  So on Sunday, July 24th, the 2nd Assault on Cair Andros took place at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica, CA. As the 1st Battle no one side held enough of the objectives to have a advantage in this battle, the set-up was a listed for the scenario. The Orcs had managed to bust the gate open on the wooden palisade and thus set up just past it in the courtyard. Their aim was to assualt the Keep where a few Rangers of Gondor and some Warriors with a Captain were holed up. Leading the Forces of Evil was the great Captain of Mordor, Gothmog.
 The Forces of Mordor and their Siege Engines prepare for battle!

 Orcs advancing with ladders to scale the walls - Gothmog on his warg is in the background

 "Get them ladders up, ya mealy mouthed maggots!"

 The battering ram attacks the gate (too little effect) and the siege ladders go up, are pushed down, go back up again...

 A lightly defended wall is attacked "We need a little help here!!!"

 The Orcs are gaining the from ramparts, Gothmog is on the wall

 Another view of the combats, more troops are moved to help defend that side wall

 Orcs have overrun the ramparts and keeping the Gondorians back on the stairs

The last Turn (12) of the game and the Orcs have enough forces on the wall to win

  The objectives for the Orcs were to have 10+ figures on the rampart and/or in the Keep before Turn 12. If they did this before Turn 8 then they would get a advantage in the next game. If they lost 50% or more of their starting number, they game would end that turn and the number of figures on the ramparts would then be checked. The Gondorian objective is simple, don't let the Orcs have 10+ inside before the end of Turn 12.

  Dice rolling for archery is this game was terrible. The Rangers need a 3+ and Gondorians a 4+ to hit but so many 1s and 2s were rolled to hit and even if the roll was high enough to hit, the "To Wound" rolls were missed. The Orcs were not any better.
  A critical moment was when Gothmog was on the wall, and one of the Mordor Siege Bolt Throwers fires at a target on the wall near him.The shot deviated and Gothmog was hit in he back. All eyes were on the die roll to see if he was wounded or not as this could kill him if he missed all his Fate rolls. The d6 stopped on a "2", so no wound!

 This led to a little story I did about that incident....

  "Gothmog watch as his troops marched through the ruined gateway of Cair Andros, and the remaining keep was now on fire and would soon be a rubble filled ruin like its neighbor. His temper was at last under control after the battle here took longer than he liked, but the human warriors were either dead or prisoners. Some of the badly wounded ones revealed under the sword that their Leader, Faramir and some other warrior named Dimrod (or something like that) had already fled. He was angry they had escaped but his real wrath was for the crew of one of the Bolt Throwers. Gothmog’s armor already had the dent pounded out, but the pain in his back where the off-target shot hit (and could have killed him) made him very angry indeed. So he showed the remaining siege machine crews what happened to crews who fired their machines at targets too close to him. After being fired from the catapult at the keep’s walls, the red smears of where they hit and their mangled corpses show what happens to incompetent crews.

As the last troops march out, followed by Gothmog on his warg, the wooden wall that protected the keep was set ablaze. Now Gothmog was off to Osgiliath to run out the last of the humans there. Maybe Faramir was there too, and Gothmog would take his head. That made him smile. Or maybe he ran back to daddy and was holed up in the White City…No matter; he would fall wherever his was. It was time of Mordor and the orcs!"

  Hopefully you have enjoyed it!

To see all the photos of the game go to:

The next game is Act3: The Rammas  or Faramir, Damrod and 4 Rangers of Gondor try to run the minute mile with the Forces of Mordor right behind them!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lord of the Rings Mini-Campaign

  After a couple of fits and false starts, something I wanted to do final got underway....a Lord of the Rings Mini-Campaign! Using the "Siege of Gondor" book, I planned to run a game a month, using the linked battles in the book starting with "Act One: First Assault on Cair Andros" and ending with "Act Four: The Siege of Minas Tirith". To keep things simple and small, I skipped the "Prologue: Osgiliath" and "Epilogue: The Pyre of Denethor" battles.

  The battle took place at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica, CA on June 25th. There were 5 objectives and if one side held 4 out of the 5 they would a and advantage in the next battle. The battle ended when the Evil forces were reduced to 50% or less or he Force of Good were reduced to a point they couldn't contest any of the objectives.

  The forces of Gondor decided to hold the wooden palisade against the Orcs in the opening part of the battle. The Gondorian Warriors and handful of Rangers along with Faramir and Damrod held the Orcs back for a while but were unable to stop the from getting over the wall, but at cost.

The Orcs send up their 2 handed axemen to chop the gate open

The gate is open...SURPRISE!!!!

  Finally, after much battle the Orcs are reduced to under 50% and a tally is made. The Orcs have 2 and the Gondorians have 3 of the objectives, thus a draw. No advantage to either side in the next battle, Act 2: 2nd Assault on Cair Andros.

  To see all the photos of the battle and the players, I have the link below to Photobucket: